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Malaysia reconsiders debt-busting Chinese projects

Fisherman stands with his boot on a crate of fresh fish
Fisherman at work in the Malaysian state of Sabah, where China has funded an oil and gas pipeline. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

Malaysia made headlines, and raised eyebrows, last week by announcing it would use crowd-funding to help pay down the crippling national debt. But another move could have much bigger implications — renegotiating big infrastructure contracts with China.

The bigger picture: China's debt-trap diplomacy is spreading across Asia and Africa. Beijing offers attractive, expensive projects to countries that need infrastructure, then leverages debt for influence.